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Archive for July, 2009

Is it Time to Again Re-Evaluate Police Training in Santa Clara County?

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Six years ago San Jose Police officers shot and killed Bich Cau Thi Tran, a young mentally ill Vietnamese woman, as she stood in her kitchen holding a vegetable peeler.  The case sparked a huge local controversy, including public protests, and cries from the local Vietnamese community and other concerned interest groups for better police training in crisis intervention and cultural sensitivity.  Last month San Jose Police officers shot and killed Daniel Pham, a young mentally ill Vietnamese man, who was holding a knife when police officers were called to his home. The event has caused many in the community to harken back again to the 2003 Bich Cau Thi Tran killing.

The San Jose Mercury News has reported that since the beginning of 2004, the year following the Bich Cau Thi Tran shooting, there have been 22 more police officer involved shootings in Santa Clara County.  10, or approximately half of those, have involved people who were confirmed to be mentally ill.  Of those 10 shootings, 9 were fatal.  A disproportionate number of those killed were Asian.

According to the California Sheriff’s Association and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, 10% of all police 911 emergency calls statewide involve someone who is mentally ill, although in a 900 hour police academy officers only get about 8 hours of training in how to deal with the mentally ill.

The above reported statistics are troubling.  They demonstrate an obvious need for more focus on crisis intervention in emergency response training, where a heavy handed approach may not always be appropriate.

If you have questions regarding criminal justice issues contact San Jose Criminal Lawyer Bernard P. Bray.

Are Lawyer’s Fees Negotiable?

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

What is oftentimes a major factor in lawyer selection in criminal cases comes down to what the lawyer’s fees will be. A fee between a lawyer and a client is not set by law, but is negotiable. There are many factors that one should consider in evaluating an appropriate lawyer fee, including the amount of the fee in proportion to the value of the services to be provided, the experience of the lawyer performing the services, the stakes involved for the client, and the time involved for the lawyer, to name but a few.

In criminal cases the standard type of fee arrangement most often used is the flat fee. There are many reasons for this. Persons facing criminal charges are generally compromised financially, and are not in a position to pay a lawyer hourly rates. Because of incarceration clients may not be able to keep up with any type of a payment schedule. Oftentimes clients make an initial payment and then are not able to pay the balance. The flat fee is also generally more cost effective for the client in that the lawyer’s time actually invested in a case may likely exceed the time the fee would otherwise indicate if the lawyer was charging on an hourly basis.

For many, the issue of selecting and paying a lawyer is about securing the peace of mind that comes from being confident that your lawyer is fully committed to your best interests, and skilled in performing whatever tasks a particular undertaking may require. That kind of comfort and confidence in your lawyer is what everyone should expect, but it is difficult to put a price on.

It is this writer’s opinion that in light of the potentially horrific consequences of a criminal proceeding it is never wise to choose a lawyer based exclusively on price. As anyone who has had the experience of working with lawyers knows, the old adage: “You get what you pay for” more often than not, applies to lawyers, just as it does to any other group of professional service providers.

If you have questions regarding lawyer fees in criminal cases please contact San Jose criminal defense lawyer Bernard P. Bray

Can I Really Lose My License? (Part II)

Monday, July 6th, 2009

In a recent blog entry I wrote about license suspension pursuant to the California Administrative Per Se suspension rule.  In California drunk driving is not the only offense that can put your driving privilege at risk.  There is a virtual laundry list of offenses that have the potential of resulting in a driver’s license suspension.  These offenses include, but are not limited to, drunk driving, domestic violence, reckless driving, vandalism, hit and run, disorderly conduct, almost all drug offenses, including simple possession where a car is involved, and that is only a partial listing.  Other circumstances that put your driving privilege at risk are medical conditions such as epilepsy, age, a record of accidents, involvement in an accident resulting in a death, a record of tickets, missed or late payments on civil court ordered judgments or family support obligations, and the list goes on.

Driving in California on a license that has been suspended for any one of the above reasons is serious.  It is a misdemeanor crime.  Conviction of a misdemeanor crime in California comes with any number of potential direct and collateral consequences, including Jail time, and immigration problems for the non-citizen.

If you have questions regarding driving on a suspended license or any other criminal justice issues contact  San Jose DUI Lawyers at the Law Offices of Bernard P. Bray.

Call Now: (408) 292-9700

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